Ascletis Pharma becomes the first biotech to file an IPO in Hong Kong

By Catherine Sturman
Chinese biotech Ascletis Pharma is set to be the first company of its kind to launch an IPO in Hong Kong. Set to be worth up to $457mn, the company has...

Chinese biotech Ascletis Pharma is set to be the first company of its kind to launch an IPO in Hong Kong.

Set to be worth up to $457mn, the company has secured the commitment of Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund, where the Government of Singapore Investment Corporation (GIC) will become a key investor, and is set to contribute up to $75mn, purchasing 20% of Ascletis’ shares in the process.

A total of 224.1mn shares are being offered through the IPO, which will be worth between $1.53 and $2.04 each.

Post flotation, the pharmaceutical firm is set to be valued at over $2bn, according to the South China Morning Post.

Proceeds will be spent on funding clinical trials, research and development of a new pipeline of drugs, and commercialisation of the drugs Danoprevir and Ravidasvir.

At present, the company has completed phase three clinical trials, and is optimistic about its use in the territory. The drug was approved by the China Food and Drug Administration in June this year.

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Danoprevir is the first cure for hepatitis C to have been developed by a Chinese company, and the GIC will remain prohibited from selling its holding in the hepatitis C drug developer for six months from the listing date, Bio Spectrum Asia has reported.

Danoprevir has been licensed from Swiss pharmaceutical giant Roche, enabling the business to commercialise the drug across China. Ravidasvir has been licensed from Presidio Pharmaceuticals. Combined, cure rates rise up to 97%.

“HCV is one of the major public health issues in China. We need to work closely with all parties of the China community to prevent and eliminate HCV ultimately,” said Jinzi J. Wu, Ph.D., Ascletis’ founder, President and CEO.

“CR Pharmaceutical Commercial Group Co., Ltd. is a leading pharmaceutical supply chain solution provider in China. Our subsequent collaboration with CR is an important strategic move for both of us to prevent and eliminate HCV.”

Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs and China Merchants Securities are the joint sponsors of the deal.

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